2018 Austrian Grand Prix - Review.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport experience a double DNF in Austria
- After scoring points in 33 consecutive races, Lewis had to retire his car today after he lost fuel pressure on lap 63 – ending the longest point-scoring run in Formula One history
- Pole-setter Valtteri experienced a retirement owing to a loss of hydraulic pressure on lap 14
- Sebastian Vettel (146 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship from Lewis (145 points) with Valtteri (92 points) in P6
- Ferrari (247 points) lead the Constructors’ Championship by 10 points from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (237 points)
This is definitely the worst weekend that I can remember for a long time. Everyone in the team will be feeling pain today, but we’v e got to take out the positives of the weekend. The car has been great all weekend, we were quickest and we’ve had such great reliability for so many years. So as painful as it is, we have to take the rough with the smooth. I have every confidence in my team that we will be able to bounce back. We can’t throw away points, so we will have to find a bullet-proof method going forward. We will work on it and we will try to re-evaluate and come back stronger.
The luck I’m having this year feels like a bit of a bad joke at the moment. My start was not ideal; I had quite a bit of wheel spin and there was less grip than we expected, so I dropped a few places. Going into Turn 3, I could recover two places and was back in second place. After that the car felt strong, we were running well, but then I suddenly experienced a loss of hydraulic pressure. There was nothing I could have done to prevent the DNF. We need to investigate and find the cause of the issues we had today, but I’m sure we will recover from this result. I guess it was just not meant to be today – but one day it will be.
For me and for the team, this is the most painful day of the last six years – to lose a possible 1-2 finish in this way, through our own mistakes and unreliability, just hurts so much. We had a spectacular first lap: a great getaway for Lewis and Valtteri battling back into P2 under braking for Turn 4. For the first 13 laps, it looked good, with both drivers in control and managing the pace well. The first blow was Valtteri’s retirement after losing hydraulic pressure – this brought out the VSC. We decided to leave Lewis on track for one lap, because we thought it would take longer to clear the car from its position, and be able to react what the cars behind us did on the following lap. But the VSC cleared sooner than predicted; we simply made the wrong decision. That left Lewis with an uphill battle – we pitted soon after racing resumed, put him on the soft tyre, and he then had to try and make up the ground on track. In doing so, the rear tyres blistered, he lost position to Sebastian, then we decided to pit again as there was nothing to lose from doing so – but, shortly after, a loss of fuel pressure forced him to retire. A double retirement through reliability is hard to stomach but we know from bitter experience that the difficult days are when we learn the most. We will pick ourselves up in the next days, learn from our errors and go to Silverstone with our heads held high. It is a home race for the many team members in Brackley and Brixworth; we will be aiming to come back strong and make amends for our failures today.
We don’t have any excuses for today. We weren’t reliable enough, we didn’t make the right strategy call, our starts weren’t good enough and we didn’t manage the tyres as well as we could have done. We have a lot to improve by Silverstone and we need to put all our focus into remedying our weaknesses today. This is one of the hardest days at the race track that we have faced as a team but it’s not the only difficult day that we have ever had. We know how to fix problems and we’ve always returned stronger than before. We have a few days to regroup and resolve these issues before Silverstone, where we will be looking to perform at the level we know we are capable of.